Chen praises wife's trip
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that the first lady's just-concluded trip to Europe was a "mission impossible." In the latest edition of his online newspaper, the president said his wife, Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍), lived up to public expectations of her visit to Germany and the Holy See that ended on Wednesday. The Germany trip really drained the first lady's strength, according to Chen, and she was exhausted at a banquet she threw for Taiwan's German friends during her last day in Berlin. Wu's aides suggested the first lady excuse herself halfway through the banquet, but Wu insisted on staying to the end as a dutiful hostess, Chen said. On the eve of her audience with Pope John Paul II in Rome on Monday, Wu's aides were scrambling to rehearse the first lady for the audience. Wu was very calm and joked that she might have a nice chat with the Pope and forget to leave at the right time. The first lady's laid-back attitude comforted her entourage, the president said. Chen said: "Always optimistic and self-confident, that is my dear wife."
Fake cellphone cases seized
Police seized more than 20,000 fake Nokia-brand cellphone cases Thursday from a warehouse at Sanchung, arresting three suspects. According to a preliminary investigation, the cases were supplied by a counterfeiter. The three suspects have been transferred to Panchiao Prosecutor's Office for indictment for violating trademark laws.
■ Overseas Chinese
OCAC official visits Texas
Vice Minister Liao Sheng-hsiung (廖勝雄) of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission is scheduled to visit Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, Texas, from yesterday through Monday, an official of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston said yesterday. He said Liao was scheduled to meet with overseas Chinese in Dallas yesterday and today, in Austin tomorrow and in San Antonio on Sunday. While in Texas, he will deliver speeches on the relations between Taiwan and China and speak on Taiwan's participation in international organizations.
Taipei seeks missile batteries
The government has formally presented a letter of request to the US for the purchase of three Lockheed Martin Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile batteries, Jane's Missiles and Rockets reports. The US Department of Defense is evaluating the request, the magazine says in its Aug. 1 issue. "Taiwan is moving forward on missile defense, including PAC-3 and EWR [early-warning radar]," a US government source told the magazine. The source also stated that a positive recommendation is expected from the Pentagon for approval of the PAC-3 deal as Washington considers China's missile threat as the most serious risk to Taiwan's security. The report said China has 100 Dong Feng-11 (M-11) and 300 Dong Feng-15 (M-9) tactical ballistic missiles deployed within range of Taiwan.
Quake jolts eastern Taiwan
An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale rocked eastern Taiwan yesterday, seismologists said. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The tremor struck at 9:14am from an epicenter 8.5km north of Hsilin, Hualien County. It originated 18.8km below the earth's crust, according to the Seismology Center.